FEB 26, 2020
Recommending or performing unnecessary surgery is inconsistent with ethical practice because all surgical procedures bear some degree of risk. Performing unnecessary surgery is a major betrayal of the surgeon’s paramount obligation to place the patient’s best interests first in therapeutic decisions.
Surgeons have a responsibility to evaluate all of the procedures they perform and to consider whether they are appropriate for a particular patient. Conversely, if a procedure is likely to be significantly beneficial to the patient, medically justified, and desired by the patient, a surgeon should not ordinarily decline to execute a procedure he or she is qualified to perform.
Unnecessary surgery is that which is clearly unjustifiable when the risks and costs exceed the likely therapeutic benefits to the patient based on the patient’s lifestyle requirements. No one factor alone can determine whether a particular surgery is unnecessary; instead, the patient’s quality of life must be taken into account. Unnecessary surgery is not an isolated, clinically observable phenomenon.
The materials and information below are presented for user education and for the development of educational activities.